Skip to main content

Full text of "Annual report of the Division of Metropolitan Planning .."

See other formats

3 9999 06544 671 6 "* (j V ^ ' < ^ 6 

Public Document No. 142 

®ljf Qlnmmomufalllj of JHaaHarljuBftta 







Publication of this Document Approved by the Commission on Administration and Finance 
400. 4-'40. D-99043. 

Mass. Secretary of tne Commonwealth 

yyjjLy ib if<t& 

3lj* (Slammtmmtultli td JHajaisarljuittitu 


20 Somerset St., Boston 
November 30, 1939 

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives in General Court 

The Division of Metropolitan Planning herewith respectfully submits 
its annual report for the year ending November 30, 1939: 

Last year, the Division in its annual report recommended a program 
of highway and parkway improvements for the Metropolitan District 
and that report together with the recommendations was printed as House 
Bill 63 of 1939. Plans and estimates of cost of these various projects 
are on file at the office of the Division. 

Rapid Transit Studies 

Owing to the congestion on Cambridge Street in Boston, at the point 
where the East Boston Tunnel incline emerges west of Bowdoin Square, 
the Division made a study of the situation and suggested the narrowing 
of the ramp by eliminating the northerly or westbound track. If this 
could be done, there would be provided at least one additional full lane 
for west-bound vehicular traffic thus equalizing the number of traffic lanes 
in either direction. 

A further study of the Somerville rapid transit extension was made 
by the Division in accordance with Chapter 21 of the Resolves of 1939 
and a special report thereon was printed as House Bill 2494 of 1939. 

A new Metropolitan District transportation map showing railroad, 
rapid transit and bus routes is being prepared by the Division on a scale 
of 2000 feet to the inch. 

Highway Studies 

Many studies have been made this year of highway needs in the Metro- 
politan District including Boston, the heart of the District. Among the 
Boston studies are the following: 

A proposed highway loop around the downtown district which would 
involve the widening of Dover Street from Berkeley Street to 
Albany Street and the use of Atlantic Avenue, Cross Street and 
Merrimac Street either as an improved thoroughfare or as the 
site of the proposed elevated highway. 

The Blue Hills radial route through Dorchester and Roxbury to 
Albany Street, near Massachusetts Avenue. 

The Commonwealth Avenue — Cottage Farm Bridge intersection. 

Among other studies in the District are included: 

A traffic circle at Powder House Square in Somerville (This was 
constructed during the year) 

Further study of the so-called New York route through Canton, 

Dedham, Westwood, Norwood and Walpole. 
The intersection of Reedsdale Road and Randolph Avenue in Milton. 
The traffic problem at Coolidge Corner in Brookline. 

The improvement of Harvard Street in Medford. 
The widening of the Old Colony Parkway. 

The extension of the Middlesex Turnpike (The Lexington route ver- 
sus the Arlington route — both routes were studied). 


The parking problems which have such a vital influence on the high- 
way situation and the economical and efficient movement of vehicles have 
been studied this year with much care and many suggestions and recom- 
mendations have been made for traffic relief from this standpoint. 

Planning Bulletin 

The Division started in January the publication of a bulletin varying 
in size from one to four pages and containing transportation and plan- 
ning news, statistical data, activities of the Division and notices of hear- 
ings and conferences. 

The mailing list of approximately 680 names includes the following 
within the Metropolitan District: 

Mayors of Cities 

Chairman of Selectmen of Towns 

Members of Planning Boards 

State Departments 

City, Town and County Engineers 

Chambers of Commerce 


Senators and Representatives 

Boston City Councillors 

Other Planning Agencies. 

Considerable interest has been shown in these bulletins, of which eight 
have been issued to date and requests for copies have come from planners, 
state libraries, etc. from Maine to California. 


At the request of legislative committees maps and charts have been 
prepared and studies and reports made on various subjects. 

Sumner Tunnel 

The Division has prepared and keeps up to date a chart showing graphi- 
cally the complete record of tunnel traffic since the opening of the tunnel. 
This gives an interesting picture of the fluctuating traffic conditions as 
they are affected by the heavy summer travel and the lighter travel in 
the winter. A slow but healthy increase in the use of the tunnel is indi- 
cated. It would appear from this chart that the lows of winter might 
be levelled and the income of the tunnel materially increased if the pro- 
posed plan of changing the registration date of motor vehicles from 
January first to April first were adopted. It is probable also that the 
state's income from the gasoline tax would thereby be increased by a 
considerable amount. 

Meetings With Local Planning Boards 

The Division is making an effort to visit all the local planning boards 
in the cities and towns of the Metropolitan District in order to become 
better acquainted with them and their problems and to establish closer 

relations with them. Members of the staff have visited several planning 
boards this year and hope to have the opportunity to meet with all dur- 
ing the ensuing year. 

These meetings should be of mutual benefit to the Division and to the 
cities and towns as they lead to closer understanding of local and general 
traffic problems and traffic needs inasmuch as the experience and knowl- 
edge of the members of the planning boards is available to the Division 
in studying their local problems and the desire to assist in those local 
problems is demonstrated by the Division. 


The maps of the Boston Metropolitan District, both on a scale of 800 
feet to the inch and 2,000 feet to the inch have been revised and brought 
up to date. 

Status of Rapid Transit, Highway and Parkway Construction 

in the Metropolitan District — Projects Completed 

and Under Construction 

The Huntington Avenue subway, now under construction from Boylston 
Street at Exeter to a point west of Gainsborough Street, is progressing 
satisfactorily and will be completed early in 1941. This will not only 
clear Boylston Street and Huntington Avenue of trolley cars but also 
provide an underpass for motor vehicles at Massachusetts Avenue and 
it will be a very welcome and long-awaited improvement. 

The new double-barrelled highway along the Neponset River is being 
extended to Milton Street East, near Readville. 

The traffic circle at the intersection of Centre Street and West Roxbury 
Parkway was completed June 29. 

A traffic circle has been constructed at the intersection of Old Colony 
Avenue and Preble Street, Boston. 

The parkway improvement near Columbia Circle together with a cut- 
off connecting the Old Colony Parkway with the Strandway was opened 
on the third of June. This also furnishes a direct connection from Old 
Colony Avenue to the Parkway, bypassing the Circle and relieving it 
of congestion. 

The traffic circle and overpass at the intersection of Memorial Drive 
and Cottage Farm Bridge in Cambridge was dedicated and opened to 
traffic November 29th. This is a very attractive and much needed im- 

In the Blue Hills Reservation, the widening and reconstruction of 
Wampatuck Road is progressing and will be completed in 1940. 

Changes in Personnel 

The Board of the Division as now constituted consists of the following 

James D. Henderson, Chairman 

Eliot Wadsworth, Vice-Chairman 

Frederick J. Mahony 

Paul C. Ryan 

John M. Whouley 

William F. Rogers 

Daniel P. McGillicuddy 

As will be seen, the following changes were made during the year: 

Mr. John M. Whouley was designated as the representative of the 
Department of Public Utilities to succeed Mr. Richard D. Grant 
on December 6, 1938; 

Mr. Frederic H. Fay resigned on January 11, 1939, and Mr. Eliot 
Wadsworth was appointed by the Governor on March 8, to succeed 
Mr. Fay, and he was subsequently elected Vice Chairman. 

Mr. Fay was a member of the Commission since 1929 and Vice Chair- 
man for the last five years. He is missed for his long experience and 
ever-ready counsel and assistance, which made him a valuable member 
of the Board. 

Mr. Henry I. Harriman has continued in his capacity as Director of 

Only the figures for the fiscal year ending November 30, 1939, are 
available at this time. 

Massachusetts Registration For 1939 

Pleasure Vehicles 960,956 

Commercial Vehicles 121,126 

Buses 4,841 

Motorcycles 907 


Trailers 14,534 


Total Drivers Licenses issued 1,231,552 

Total Taxable Gallons of Gasoline 711,895,309 

This would indicate the receipts from the Gasoline 
Tax in Massachusetts for the year ending Novem- 
ber 30, 1939, to be $20,455,079.10. 

These records show an all time high for registrations, licenses and 
gasoline consumption. 


Appropriations and Expenditures for the Fiscal Year 
Ending November 30, 1939 

Appropriation $20,094.31 

Expenditures 19,789.07 

Balance reverted $ 305.24 

Financial Statement Verified. 

Approved. Geo. E. Murphy, Comptroller. 

Respectfully submitted, 

James D. Henderson, Chairman 

Eliot Wadsworth, Vice Chairman 

Frederick J. Mahoney 

Paul C. Ryan 

John M. Whouley 

William F. Rogers 

Daniel P. McGillicuddy 

Henry I. Harriman, Director